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Cumulative Impact Assessment in

Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters

Enabling Actions Report for The Crown Estate
John Pomfret, Technical Director, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure UK

Wave and tidal power leasing round in Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters
(PFOW) strategic development area
The Crown Estate (TCE) is undertaking Enabling Actions work to
accelerate and de-risk the development process

One enabling actions topic was Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA)

Studies undertaken:
Cumulative Impact Assessment in PFOW AMEC and Aquatera
Ornithological CIA framework MacArthur Green
Identification of cumulative effects in PFOW Royal Haskoning

This presentation summarises the outcomes of the AMEC project

This produced guidance based on a review of existing guidance,
circulation of a discussion paper and a stakeholder workshop, with the
aim of avoiding each developer re-inventing the wheel on CIA

Workshop participants

Review of the discussion paper and participation in the workshop

The Crown Estate

statutory advisors
local authorities

renewable energy developers

renewable energy test centres and fora

Guidance was provided to assist developers with CIA in the areas of:

communication and collaboration
identifying sources, pathways and receptors
projects to include in CIA
receptors to include in CIA
temporal scale of effects
common approach to data acquisition

Developed for PFOW but recommendations are applicable more widely

Details are in the report available at

On-line references to this and other reports are in the handout

so sit back and relax and forget about note-taking!

Context PFOW redefined area

Context PFOW projects

CIA - whats that?

Assessment of effects taking account of effects of other plans and
projects terminology varies in the legislation
Environmental Impact Assessment

Habitats Directive Assessment

EIA Directive

Habitats Directive


- cumulation with
other projects

Describe likely
significant effects

- cumulative effects

Screening for
likely significant
effects (LSE)

- in combination with
other plans & projects


- implicit,
not separately stated

Habitats Regulations

EIA Regulations

- cumulation or
combined effect

Screening for

- effects in combination

Describe likely
significant effects

- cumulative effects


- implicit,
not separately stated

SEA legislation for plans has similar requirements to those for EIA

CIA one or two processes?

Both EIA/SEA and HRA processes require consideration of LSE
Both require examination of effects of other plans or projects acting
together with the project that is the subject of the assessment

There is no basis in law or EU guidance for assigning different

meanings to the terms cumulative and in combination
There are differences between EIA and HRA in that:
EIA considers all receptors and likely is typically defined on a balance of
probabilities basis
HRA considers only interest features of European sites (and their support
systems) and likely is determined using the precautionary principle (from
case law based on the Rio Declaration)

The processes by which other plans and projects can produce

cumulative/in combination effects are the same in both cases

Thus strategic guidance for CIA can be developed to apply to both


CIA at screening/scoping stage

Legislation requires that CIA must be considered at the screening stage
for both EIA and HRA not always the case
Scoping report stage
agreed consideration of CIA at scoping is beneficial in principle
often lack of data makes for a very wide and non-specific report
important to revisit regularly as project evolves - iterative process

CIA scoping as early as practicable
May allow some effects to be scoped-out at early stage
Marine Scotland will maintain a catalogue of projects for consideration
Keep CIA scope under review as project develops
Cut off point to be agreed with regulator for each project
typically 3-6 months before submission

CIA communication and collaboration

Benefits of developer collaboration through organised fora (e.g. TCEs
PFOW Developer Forum and FTOWDG) on common approaches to:
baseline data sets
projects to include in CIA
CIA process
receptor issues

Wider collaboration between developers, regulators and other

stakeholders requires a strong facilitator (e.g. Marine Scotland)

Little incentive to share info - Wave & Tidal Knowledge Network may help
Maintain current avenues such as the PFOW Developer Forum
Marine Scotland continue to work closely with developers, statutory
advisors and local authorities

CIA sources, pathways, receptors

Source pathway receptor model
Source = project being assessed and other projects included in the CIA
Receptor = all physical, human activity and biological receptors

Pathway = mechanism by which a source can affect a receptor

Think of as a triangle if any element is missing an effect will not occur

Agreed beneficial to think in these terms


CIA sources, pathways, receptors

Iterative process e.g. mobility of
receptors may affect geographic
envelope for projects to be included
Noted that technologies for wave and
tidal vary greatly so pathways and
receptors may also differ
S-P-R concept is useful
Effects triangle useful in scoping CIA
Identifying pathways will define
spatial extent of CIA

Use Royal Haskoning report for

advice on identifying receptors


CIA projects to include

Questions around:
types of project to include in CIA
stage in their permitting/consenting process
scale of project

Existing CIA guidance varies on the stage of the consenting process

Completed construction projects are part of the baseline (identify clearly)
CIA should include:
projects which are the subject of a submitted application for consent
projects consented but yet to be constructed/completed
in some cases, additional projects as advised by Marine Scotland
(e.g. projects awaiting scoping opinion)
Use matrix tool for identifying potential effects of different types of project
Include small scale projects in CIA, no minimum size criterion, with
appropriate level of detail - although many will be scoped-out rapidly

CIA receptors
Mobile receptors are the most problematic, both ecological (e.g. marine
mammals, fish, bats and birds) and non-ecological (e.g. shipping)
Matrix tool will help to identify receptors likely to be affected
Flow chart developed to assist

Despite mobility of some receptors, trans-boundary effects not likely to

be of concern for non-ornithological ecological receptors


CIA receptors

Application of the S-P-R approach may be assisted by this flow chart
This will also assist in finalising the list of projects to include in CIA

CIA temporal scale

Temporal scale of effects may be relevant in some cases (e.g.

concurrent piling) but is clearly not in others (e.g. archaeological effects)
Temporal considerations may include duration of the pressure (source
term) and longevity of the effect caused (e.g. receptor life cycles)
Changing timeframes due to project delays cause difficulties in CIA

CIA should cover construction, operation and decommissioning of the
PFOW project being assessed
To allow consideration of the potential for multiple short-term effects
occurring concurrently, Marine Scotland wish to be updated regularly on
project timeframes


CIA data acquisition

CIA is often hindered by:
the limited information available for the marine area
different collection methods making data non-comparable and unsuitable for
analysis without significant pre-processing
commercial sensitivity about sharing data before submission of applications

The methodology issue can be addressed without divulging sensitive

project information
TCEs Marine Data Exchange and the TCE/DECC Knowledge Network
initiatives will assist
Encourage developers to follow standardised models and templates for data
Encourage developer cooperation and involvement of regulators to agree on
data collection methods and potentially cost sharing at a strategic level

The TCE Enabling Actions Report:
Cumulative Impact Assessment in Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters

provides guidance on CIA for PFOW projects in the areas of:

communication and collaboration
identifying sources, pathways and receptors
projects to include in CIA
receptors to include in CIA
temporal scale of effects
common approach to data acquisition

Some conclusions simply reinforce and clarify existing guidance

Details are in the report available at



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